The eighteen stories of Manuel Gonzales's exhilarating first book render the fantastic commonplace and the ordinary extraordinary, in prose that thrums with energy and shimmers with beauty. In "The Artist's Voice" we meet one of the world's foremost composers, a man who speaks through his ears. A hijacked plane circles a city for twenty years in "Pilot, Copilot, Writer." Sound can kill in "The Sounds of Early Morning." And, in the title story, a man is at war with the wife he accidentally shrank. For these characters, the phenomenal isn't necessarily special - but it's often dangerous.
In slightly fantastical settings, Gonzales illustrates very real guilt over small and large marital missteps, the intense desire for the reinvention of self, and the powerful urges we feel to defend and provide for the people we love. With wit and insight, these stories subvert our expectations and challenge us to look at our surroundings with fresh eyes. Brilliantly conceived, strikingly original, and told with the narrative instinct of a born storyteller, The Miniature Wife is an unforgettable debut.
"Starred Review. A quiet pathos spans the collection, and a well-timed glibness injects these stories with an undercurrent of dark humor. A surprising, delightful, and slyly didactic debut." - Publishers Weekly
"Imaginative stories elevated by creative renderings of tropes from genre fiction. Debut author Gonzales, executive director of The Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center, offers up a collection of 18 sparely constructed stories, rife with ingenuity and beholden to few rules." - Kirkus
"These stories are wrought with forceful clarity, Borgesian inventiveness and enchanting, devious witan unforgettable debut from a uniquely gifted writer." Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
"These are beautiful, strange truths - mad, weird, funny and unforgettable. Manuel Gonzales possesses a brand new American literary voice. This is vital work from an exciting new writer." - Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet
"This book has everything you could ask for in a collection, and even things you hadn't thought to ask for, but secretly wanted: unicorns, mobsters, swamp monsters and werewolves. Manuel Gonzales weaves the supernatural into the lives of everyday citizens, from anthropologists to airline passengers, and the result is pure magic mixed with humor and deep humanity." Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief
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Rated of 5
The Miniature Wife
Although I can't say that I liked all the stories in this collection I did like several. Among my favorites was the title story "Miniature Wife" and the first story about a high-jacked airplane, as well as the Mall story which kept my interest all the way through. It is hard to describe these stories, the best I can come up with is it is like falling asleep and having a really out there dream and than waking up and thinking "Where did that come from?" That is what some of these were like, and once again the imagination of the human mind can be astonishing.
Manuel Gonzales is a graduate of the Columbia University graduate creative writing program. He has published fiction and nonfiction in Open City, Fence, One Story, Esquire, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, and The Believer. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two children.
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